So, if you’ve ever watched the movie Pulp Fiction, you’re familiar with the famous “Royale with Cheese” scene. And if you haven’t… then you should really go watch it. Great movie! But here’s a little recap for you. (Caution: Strong language. Not recommended for young'ns or work environments.)
Vincent (John Travolta) and Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) are riding around in a car, chatting. Vincent has recently made a trip overseas, visiting such European cities as Amsterdam and Paris, and is telling Jules about the little differences between the U.S. and Europe.
Vincent: “….and in Paris, you can buy a beer in McDonalds. You know what they can a.. uh.. a Quarter Pounder with cheese in Paris?”
Jules: “They don’t call it a Quarter Pounder with cheese?”
Vincent: “No man, they got the metric system. They don’t know what the [bleep] a Quarter Pounder is.”
Jules: “Then what do they call it?”
Vincent: “They call it a Royale with Cheese…”
I have always wondered if this is, in fact, true.
Tory and I have seen the American fast food joints over here – namely McDonalds and KFC – but have chosen to avoid it and sample the more authentic local flavor. However, we recently took a trip to Paris for our anniversary and happened upon a McDonald’s one evening.
Can it really be that different? We wondered.
We decided to find out.
Upon entering, we encountered our first major difference:
The menu was divided by the size of your appetite, side items, meals, cold drinks and hot drinks (which appear to be considered a “treat” in Europe). While we weren’t quite in the mood for one (especially one that comes from McDonald’s), we did discover: yes, you can get a beer at McDonald’s in Paris!
It isn’t too surprising as alcoholic beverages are not as taboo in Europe as they are in the States. Perhaps those that settled this country in search of religious freedom were also seeking freedom from alcohol? Probably not… but the small, yet very distinct, differences you encounter here are incredible!
The next item to search for was the infamous “Royale with Cheese” – brother to the Quarter Pounder. We searched the menu, messed up our order a few times, then searched again. Alas, we never found it. The closest thing we found was this:
A double cheeseburger.
Amazingly, I tasted almost no difference between the American double cheeseburger and the Parisian double cheeseburger. Just because it was "French", it wasn't any better in quality. I guess wherever you go - McDonald's is McDonald's.
We did find another small difference, though. In the States, we only serve ketchup – maybe some mustard – with our fries. In Paris, however, they serve “Pommes Frites Sauce” [French Fry Sauce] with fries, as well.
Pommes Frites Sauce is pretty much European mayonnaise. We’ve discovered that what they call mayo over here is not the thick, goopy spread we would think of back home. This has a little more spice and tang to it and is more sauce-like than mayonnaise.
All that aside…
The search for the great Royale with Cheese continues.
[And for those of you wondering, a more thorough update of our Paris venture will be provided soon – complete with pictures. Promise.]